Forgiveness and letting go of the hurt one experiences, can be real struggle for all of us in our lives. Do you know anyone who constantly expresses a negative attitude or makes negative statements about how much they were hurt by a person from their past? How about seeing the hostility in someone’s eyes or their actions? How do these things affect us? Science has proved that the body and mind are connected. Things like a resentment, grievance, shame, guilt, or pain from a past occurrence, causes our entire body-mind to suffer.
Researchers have found that hostility, bitterness and resentment are inflammatory emotions causing hormones in the body to rise and free-fall with damage to an organ as a result. Hearing statements like she “stabbed me in the back,” or my deep loss was “gut wrenching,” only affirms how much damage is being created by such hostile states. If we live with hostility, bitterness and resentment over a long period of time, it has the potential to literally kill us.
Clay Stauffer, guest columnist in The Tennessean states, "Sadly, more and more people are living life this way, unable to let go of things from their past. Many have been hurt, betrayed, lied to, disappointed, disrespected, ignored, overlooked or left behind." Fortunately, however, letting go of the hurt is exactly what we should be doing. When we let go of the emotional toxicity, our body immediately begins to return to a state of self-healing. In forgiving, we free ourselves from past hurts and increase our capacity for compassion and love for everyone around us, including ourselves.
Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned by the South African government for 27 years, yet emerged without bitterness for his captors, stated, “As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, I would still be in prison.”
Even knowing the value of forgiveness, many people doubt whether they will be able to forgive and fully let go. Forgiveness often doesn’t happen overnight. In cases of deep violation, forgiveness is often a process. Sometimes you have to forgive someone many times before you finally let go of all the emotional residue of the past.
One thing is certain, however, Every Act of Forgiveness and Letting Go Is an Act of Healing for Yourself and Possibly Others.
~ Fran Cosentino, AFSI Bursar/Registrar